Vice-President (Science, Technology and Medicine)

Professor Ole H Petersen CBE MAE FLSW FMedSci ML FRS

Ole Petersen (OP), who graduated in Medicine from the University of Copenhagen, has been Director of Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences since the beginning of 2010 (successor to the Nobel Laureate Sir Martin Evans FRS). OP is also Medical Research Council (MRC) Professor at Cardiff University (last renewal by The MRC for the period 2012 – 2017).  He was previously George Holt Professor of Physiology at the University of Liverpool (1981 – 2009) and before that Symers Professor of Physiology at the University of Dundee (1975-1981).

OP pioneered, together with Yoshio Maruyama (YM – now Professor at Tohoku University, Sendai) patch clamp single channel and whole-cell current recordings in epithelial cells. OP and YM discovered hormone-evoked, messenger-mediated ion channel activation (Maruyama & Petersen Nature 1982a,b), voltage-activation of epithelial ion channels (Maruyama et al Nature 1983a,b) and integrated these data into the first model of how ion channels control epithelial fluid secretion (Petersen & Maruyama Nature 1984 [ISI Citation Classic]). Later, OP discovered sub-cellular Ca2+spiking in epithelial cells (Wakui et al Nature 1989, Cell 1990; Thorn et al Cell 1993), messenger-mediated Ca2+ release from the nuclear envelope (Gerasimenko et al Cell 1995) as well as the secretory granules (Gerasimenko et al Cell 1996) and intracellular Ca2+ tunnels (Mogami et al Cell 1997). More recently, he demonstrated the crucial role of Ca2+ release channels and store-operated Ca2+ entry in the initiation of alcohol-related pancreatitis (Raraty et al PNAS 2000; Gerasimenko et al PNAS 2009), the intrinsic protective effect of calmodulin (Gerasimenko et al PNAS 2011) and provided proof-of-principle for Ca2+ release-activated Ca2+ channel blockade as a treatment of severe acute pancreatitis (Gerasimenko et al PNAS 2013).

OP was elected Fellow of The Royal Society (FRS) in 2000 and Member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina (ML) in 2010. He was a Founding Member of Academia Europaea (1988) and of the Academy of Medical Sciences (1998). He has also been elected to Fellow/Membership of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters (1988), the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (2004) and the Learned Society of Wales (2011). He received the Nordic Insulin Foundation’s Jacobaeus Prize (1994), the Czech Academy of Sciences’ Purkynĕ Medal (2003) and was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Queen Elizabeth II for ‘Services to Science’ in 2008. He has recently been awarded The American Physiological Society’s Horace W Davenport Distinguished Lectureship and delivered the Award Lecture at Experimental Biology (EB) in April 2013 in Boston, USA.

OP chairs the UK Government’s Biological Sciences Panel for the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF2014) and is a Member of the Welsh Government’s Science Advisory Council for Wales. He has been Chair and Deputy Chair of European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant and Consolidator Grant Evaluation Panels for Physiology, Pathophysiology & Endocrinology and is a member of numerous editorial boards, including Current Biology and the Journal of Physiology. He serves on the Executive Board and Council of Academia Europaea and chairs the Academy’s Nominations Committee. OP has been Vice-President of The Royal Society (2005-2006) and currently serves as The Royal Society’s representative on the Biosciences Steering Panel of the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) (2013 – ).

In 2014 he was elected Vice-President (Science, Technology & Medicine) of the Learned Society of Wales and was appointed Champion for Wales by the Academy of Medical Sciences.